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Solar panel industry achieves Holy Grail - $1 per watt grid-parity

Post Time:Mar 05,2009Classify:Company NewsView:372

March 3, 2009 Arizona based First Solar has achieved a major milestone in reducing the manufacturing cost for solar panels below the $1 per watt price barrier - the target necessary for solar to compete with coal-burning electricity on the grid or grid-parity. Using cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology in its thin-film photovoltaic cells, First Solar claims to have the lowest manufacturing cost per watt in the industry with the ability to make solar cells at 98 cents per watt, one third of the price of comparable standard silicon panels. The efficiency is in part due to a low cycle time - 2.5 hours from sheet of glass to solar module - about a tenth of the time it takes for silicon equivalents.

Thin film cadmium telluride solar panels have an active element just a hundredth the thickness of silicon used in conventional solar panels built on a glass substrate, facilitating the production of large panels. The process and machinery used is so secret that visitors to the company's 500 megawatt production facility are barred from getting an up close look at the production line.

Source: gizmag.comAuthor: shangyi

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